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Cortez The Killie Killer

real Estate Closing Scheme / Theft

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The following is a Notice that was issued by the Morris County Prosecutor. Apparently, larges sums of $$$ have already been stolen in NJ alone.

 

If you transact business through wire transfers --- be aware. Also, be cautious of the data that you send via e-mail, even if you have taken security precautions.

 

 

December 17, 2014

REAL ESTATE CLOSING SCHEME

Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp is issuing an alert to the members of the Morris County Bar Association regarding a Real Estate Closing Scheme - involving e-mailed wiring instructions for banking transactions. Because of the sophistication of the scheme, the large dollar amounts involved in each intrusion and the impact this scheme could have on victims, Prosecutor Knapp asks that extra vigilance and precautions be used in all real estate transactions.

The scheme involves a cyber hack into an attorney's e-mail account and may be the work of an organized overseas group that is recently targeting lawyers, realtors and/or title agencies. Shortly before the closing takes place, hackers pose as a participant in the transaction and initiate instructions for a fraudulent funds transfer. This is done by changing the wiring instructions, or by cancelling requests for certified funds and requesting wired funds to an account they control. The false wiring instructions direct the funds to an account in a financial institution where the hacker can immediately re-transfer the money to an untraceable overseas account.

All attorneys and closing agents should initiate precautions against this scheme. Closing agents should consider a two-step verification system with their clients to be used to authenticate any monetary transactions. For example, monetary instructions should be confirmed by voice. Passwords should also be changed frequently and company issued e-mail accounts with firewalls and virus protection should be considered over free e-mail providers.

Prosecutor Knapp urges anyone who has information on this scheme to report the information to the Financial Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor's Office at 973-285-6200.

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The following is a Notice that was issued by the Morris County Prosecutor. Apparently, larges sums of $$$ have already been stolen in NJ alone.

 

If you transact business through wire transfers --- be aware. Also, be cautious of the data that you send via e-mail, even if you have taken security precautions.

 

 

December 17, 2014

REAL ESTATE CLOSING SCHEME

Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp is issuing an alert to the members of the Morris County Bar Association regarding a Real Estate Closing Scheme - involving e-mailed wiring instructions for banking transactions. Because of the sophistication of the scheme, the large dollar amounts involved in each intrusion and the impact this scheme could have on victims, Prosecutor Knapp asks that extra vigilance and precautions be used in all real estate transactions.

The scheme involves a cyber hack into an attorney's e-mail account and may be the work of an organized overseas group that is recently targeting lawyers, realtors and/or title agencies. Shortly before the closing takes place, hackers pose as a participant in the transaction and initiate instructions for a fraudulent funds transfer. This is done by changing the wiring instructions, or by cancelling requests for certified funds and requesting wired funds to an account they control. The false wiring instructions direct the funds to an account in a financial institution where the hacker can immediately re-transfer the money to an untraceable overseas account.

All attorneys and closing agents should initiate precautions against this scheme. Closing agents should consider a two-step verification system with their clients to be used to authenticate any monetary transactions. For example, monetary instructions should be confirmed by voice. Passwords should also be changed frequently and company issued e-mail accounts with firewalls and virus protection should be considered over free e-mail providers.

Prosecutor Knapp urges anyone who has information on this scheme to report the information to the Financial Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor's Office at 973-285-6200.

 

What is the source of this article please.

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It is a Notice that was sent by the Morris CountyProsecutor to the Morris County Bar Association that was then sent to it's members. It may be posted on the MCPO website.

 

Thank you too.

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We have been issued multiple underwriting bulletins on this in the last few months..

We have been issued multiple underwriting bulletins on this in the last few months..

 

Amazing that they just let the lawyers know... Maybe it just hit NJ? I asked that a copy be sent to clients / others that we deal with ... Just read e-mails from a Realtor in VT & an Attorney from Miami that transacts with Latin American clients often. They didn't know. Considering how easy it is to hack email & how lax many are with data it's no wonder this is not more widespread.

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So if someone tries to change the terms during the process it should be investigated? We aren't in real estate but we receive wire transfers a lot.

 

It should be enough to require a phone call in order to confirm that the changes are real. (If there's an African or Russian voice on the other end then you might be cautious.)

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I received the bulletins from my title insurance underwriters. About two weeks ago, a local realtor received an email solicitation from someone purporting to be from Canada and wanting to buy property in Maine. The request to open the file was structured in such a way that I was sure it was this scam.

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